Since cannabis has become legalized for recreational possession and consumption in Illinois, I’ve gotten rather particular about quality.
There are multiple dispensaries operating in Chicago.
They are within a reasonable drive from my apartment, and I’ve checked out all of them. Because I prefer old-school smoking, my main focus is the selection of dried flower and pre-rolls. I am not as concerned about price or options as I am about the integrity of the bud. The manner in which the flower was cultivated, harvested and dried makes a big difference. If the plant was harvested before reaching maturity, it will lack potency of terpenes and cannabinoids. If the weed was machine-processed, the trichomes can be damaged and lost. The trichomes are the source of the THC, CBD, odors and flavor, making them very important. The bud should be a vibrant green color, often with flecks of blue and purple. There should be bright orange hair-like pistils. If those pistils are white, the plant was harvested too early. If the pistils are brown or gray, there’s the potential for old or contaminated bud. The trichomes are crystal-like, shaped similar to little mushrooms and should cover the surface of the weed. I also give the flower the sniff test. It should have a pungent odor but without mustiness. It should also be a texture somewhere between dry and sticky, with no sign of stems or seeds. I check carefully for mold or webs that could indicate spider mites. So far, I’ve been extremely impressed with the premier level of flower offered by all of the local dispensaries.